Immigration Facts
Summary Demographic State Data (and Source)
Population (2012 CB est.) 6,021,988
Population (2000 CB est.) 5,595,211
Foreign-Born Population (2012 CB est.) 228,066
Foreign-Born Population (2000 CB est.) 151,196
Share Foreign-Born (2012) 3.8 %
Share Foreign-Born (2000) 2.5%
Naturalized U.S. Citizens (2012 CB est.): 98,935
Share Naturalized (2012) 43.4 %
Legal Immigrant Admission (DHS 2001 – 2012) 72,618
Refugee Admission (HHS 2000 – 2012) 24,984
Illegal Alien Population (2010 FAIR est.) 60,000
Costs of Illegal Aliens (2009 FAIR) $338,269,123
Projected 2050 Population (2006 FAIR) 7,072,000

State Population

According to the Census Bureau, the population of Missouri in 2012 was 6,021,988 residents.

Between 2000 (population 5,595,211) and 2012, the state's average annual population change was 34,839 residents. That was an annual average change of 0.6 percent. The comparable national annual rate of change was 0.9 percent.

Between 1990 (population 5,117,073) and 2000, the state's annual average population change was 47,814 residents. The annual average rate of change was 0.9 percent compared to the national rate of change of 1.2 percent.

Foreign-Born Population

According to the Census Bureau the foreign-born population of Missouri was about 228,066 persons in 2012. This estimate meant a foreign-born population share of 3.8 percent. The chart above shows the long-term change in the state's foreign-born population based on Census Bureau data.

Foreign-Born Change

Between 2000 and 2012 the Census Bureau estimate indicates an average annual rate of change in the foreign-born population of about 6,275 people, compared to the state's annual average population change of about 34,839  people. That is a 18.0  percent share of the state's population change (not including the children born in the United States to illegal aliens). The foreign-born population grew by 50.8 percent between 2000 and 2012.

Immigration also contributes to population growth through the U.S.-born children of immigrants. Nationally the share of births to the foreign-born is about double their share of the population. A 7.6 percent share of the state's current births is large enough to account for about 5,810 births a year. Combining the average increase in the foreign-born population and estimated immigrant births suggests that immigration may account for about 12,085 persons added to the state's population annually, i.e., nearly 34.7 percent of the state's overall population increase.

As of 2012 about 58.1 percent of Missouri's foreign-born population had arrived in the state since 2000. This compares with the national average 40.9 percent. In 2000, 52.4 percent of the state's foreign-born population that had arrived since the previous Census.

Foreign-Born Characteristics

An indicator of the change in Missouri's immigrant population may be seen in data on the share of the population over five years of age that speaks a language other than English at home. Between 2000 and 2012, the share of non-English speakers changed from 5.1 percent to 6.0 percent. In 2000, 39 percent of those persons in also said they spoke English less than very well. In the 2012 estimate, the share was 36.2 percent that spoke English less than very well. In 2012 Spanish speakers were 41.2 percent of those who spoke other than English at home, and 42.0 percent of those who spoke English less than very well.

The chart above shows the regional composition of the state's foreign-born population and how it has changed from between 2000 and 2012.


Census Bureau data in 2012 indicate that 98,935 residents of Missouri, or 43.4 percent of the foreign-born population in Missouri, were naturalized U.S. citizens, compared to 61,786 residents, or 40.9 percent, in 2000.

Nationally, 40.3 percent of the foreign-born population was naturalized in 2000, and 45.8 percent in 2012.

Net International Migration (NIM)

Data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the Census Bureau estimated that between 2000 and 2012, the change in Missouri's population resulting from net international migration has been about 14,090 people. It was 24.7 percent of total change (not including the children born to the immigrants after their arrival in the United States). 1   The remainder was due to net domestic migration and natural change (births minus deaths).


  1. A negative percentage results when there was an overall population decrease. A percentage greater than 100 percent results when domestic migration is negative, i.e, a net loss from interstate migration.

Immigrant Admissions

Recent "green card" recipients who intend to reside in Missouri were 233 percent above admissions just after adoption of the current immigration system in 1965. During the 1965 to 1969 period, annual admissions averaged about 2,104 persons. During the most recent five years, annual admissions averaged about 7,011 persons. Immigrant admissions data are from the Yearbook of Immigration Statistics.

The chart above shows recent immigrant admissions and the cumulative amount of immigrant admissions since FY'65. The cumulative total of immigrant admissions to Missouri between fiscal years 1965 and 2012 has been 205,196 persons.

The data for fiscal years 1989-91 were artificially raised by the inclusion of former illegal aliens who were amnestied in 1986. According to INS data (1991) the number of amnesty applicants from Missouri was 2,157 (1,241 pre-1982 residents and 916 agricultural workers). These data were published by the Immigration and Naturalization Service and reported in "Report on the Legalized Alien Population," March 1992.

Admissions by Nationality: FY'96 - FY'05

The table below furnishes INS data by nationality on the immigrants who were admitted for residence in Missouri between 1996 and 2005.

The INS data are for nationals of the countries with the largest number of immigrants admitted or adjusted to legal residence each year since 1996. The absence of data means that the total number of admissions to the United States by nationals of that country was not enough to merit detailed reporting in that year.

The Department of Homeland Security website has detailed data on immigrant admissions since FY'03 by year and by source country and intended state of residence. (See http://www.dhs.gov/files/statistics/publications/yearbook.shtm) then select the desired year, click Legal Permanent Residents, data and then select "supplemental table 1."

Chart of Immigrant Admission by Fiscal Year


Missouri has received 24,984 refugees over the most recent ten fiscal years including 1,065 refugees in fiscal year 2012. The chart above shows the annual admissions over the last ten years and the cumulative total of those admissions using data complied by the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The U.S. government program that distributes new refugees among the states is the only immigration program that provides state governments the opportunity to participate in deciding how many newcomers will come to that state each year.

Illegal Aliens

Missouri Fiscal Costs
Due to Illegal Aliens
           ($M) (Pct.)
K-12 educ. $133.60 39.5%
LEP educ. $26.90 8.0%
Medicaid+ $25.60 7.6%
SCHIP $8.30 2.5%
Justice $21.20 6.3%
Welfare+ $44.00 13.0%
General $78.80 23.3%
Total $338.30  
Tax receipts $12.90  
Net Cost $325.40  
Source: "The State Cost Studies"

FAIR Estimate - FAIR estimates the illegal alien population of Missouri as of 2010 was about 60,000 persons. This is part of an overall estimate of the U.S. illegal alien population of about 11,900,000 persons.

DHS Estimate - The current estimate by DHS of the illegal alien population in Missouri was n/a in 2012. The DHS estimate is available for only the 10 states with the largest illegal alien populations. The DHS estimate of the national illegal alien population in 2012 was 11,430,000.

Other Estimates - The Pew Hispanic Center estimates the illegal alien population of the state at 55,000 as of 2010.

Fiscal Cost of Illegal Aliens

FAIR's most recent estimate of the cost outlays due to illegal immigration and tax receipts from illegal aliens in Missouri are as shown on the right:

Limited English Proficiency Students

Data are not available nationally on immigrant students (either legally or illegally resident in the United States) who are enrolled in primary and secondary schools (K-12). However, a large majority of these students enrolled in Limited English Proficiency/English Language Learning (LEP/ELL) instruction programs may be assumed to be children of either legal or illegal immigrants with a predominance of children of illegal aliens.

In Missouri, LEP public school enrollment in 2010 ( 21,076) was 100.4 percent of LEP enrollment a decade earlier. By contrast, overall K-12 enrollment in the state was 917,188 percent of enrollment a decade earlier.

Population Projection

FAIR projected Missouri's population in 2050 likely would be between 6,956,000 million and 7,072,000 million with current levels of immigration. Alternatively, the population could be lower (6,428,000) if immigration were reduced to a level where it balanced the number of U.S. residents leaving to reside outside of the United states, i.e., zero-net immigration. See "Projecting the U.S. Population to 2050: Four Immigration Scenarios," FAIR 2006.

Foreign Students

Data compiled by the Institute of International Education (IIE) record the number of foreign students attending post-secondary school in Missouri as 17,300 in 2013.

The chart above illustrates the change in the number of foreign students attending school in Missouri since 1997.

For information on foreign student issues see: Foreign Students in the United States.

Immigration Impact

Sanctuary Policies

City or County

St. Louis

Resolution No. 273 (March 12, 2004)

  • “…it is the policy of the City of St. Louis that City employees and its departments shall refrain from profiling based on race, ethnicity, citizenship, religion, national origin, or non-violent political values; and denying any city service on the basis of citizenship….”
  • The Police Department shall not participate “…in the enforcement of federal immigration laws, except to prevent persons from a continuing practice of transporting and harboring illegal aliens….”


A marker of the impact of immigration on the Missouri's population size: The state's Hispanic population nearly doubled during the 1990s, to 118,592. Fifty-six Missouri counties had Hispanic population growth exceeding 100 percent.1 While the Hispanic population includes many native-born residents, it is an indicator of the dramatic contribution immigration has made to population growth in the area.


Water: Between 2000 and 2006 the population of foreign-born persons increased in Missouri by 28.1 percent.2 In contrast, the native-born population increased by 3.8 percent and that included the children born to immigrants. When the U.S.born children of these immigrants are included, immigrants account for nearly 30 percent of the state's over all population growth.3 Missouri has a per-capita, water demand of nearly 156 gallons per day.4 By 2050, if current growth trends continue Missouri's population will have topped 7 million, more than a 21 percent increase from 2006 estimates.5

Traffic: As population growth put more traffic on the roads, the average commute for Missouri residents increased ten percent during the 1990s, from 22 minutes to 24 minutes in 2000. 6,7 30% of Missouri's major urban roads are congested and 46% of Missouri's major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. Vehicle travel on Missouri's highways increased 34% from 1990 to 2003. Driving on roads in need of repair costs Missouri motorists $1.5 billion a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs --- $383 per motorist. Congestion in the Kansas City metropolitan area costs commuters $503 per person in excess fuel and lost time, and congestion in the St. Louis metropolitan area costs commuters $647 per person per year in excess fuel and lost time. 8

Travelers in the St. Louis, MO-IL area experience an annual delay of 35 hours, and travelers in the Kansas City, MO- Kansas area experience an annual delay of 17 hours. 9 12 percent of commuters in Missouri experience a commute that is 45 minutes or more. 10

In Jefferson County, traffic counts on most highways doubled between 1985 and 1995. 11

Disappearing Open Space: Each year, Missouri loses 44,800 acres due to development.12

Crowded Housing: In 2005 over 31,000 Missouri households are defined as crowded or severely crowded by housing authorities. 13 Studies show that a rise in crowded housing often correlates with an increase in the number of foreign-born.14, 15

Sprawl: Population growth in Missouri is threatening the state's natural areas and rural character, according to a study from the Brookings Institution. Development is encroaching upon treasures like the Lone Jack battlefield and Philips Farm and Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.16 Many of the of the state's forests and streams are threatened, and twelve of its 29 battlefields are listed as either threatened or highly threatened by the population shift.17

A study of urban sprawl between 1970 and 1990 that calculated the impact of population increase and per capita land use found that 267.6 square miles of additional land were consumed by urban sprawl in the St. Louis, MO metropolitan area, with crosses into Illinois, and 7.3 percent of that sprawl was attributable to population increase. In the Kansas City metro area, which crosses into Kansas, sprawl consumed an additional 268.6 square miles and population increase accounted for 33.6 percent of the increase. 18

Poverty: In 2005 16.6 percent of the state's immigrant residents had incomes below poverty level, and increase of 19.6. Among foreign-born non-citizens, the poverty rate climbs to 22.4 percent.19

Air Quality: Clay, Jefferson, Saint Charles, St. Louis, St. Louis City, and Sainte Genevieve counties all received a grade of "F" from the American Lung Associations "State of the Air 2005" report. 20

Solid Waste: Missouri generates 1.28 tons of solid waste per capita. 21

Schools: Between 1990 and 2000, Missouri's elementary and high school enrollment increased 14 percent, 22 and increased by almost 3,600 students from 2000 and 2006 23, 24 , and is projected to increase by an additional 9,000 students by 2015. 25

Across the state, communities are struggling with overcrowded classrooms and are holding classes in temporary trailers. In some areas, the problem is particularly pronounced; for instance, in north St. Louis County, the Riverview Gardens School District enrollment has jumped by 46 percent in ten years, with an additional eight percent increase expected by 2005. 26



  1. Scott Charton, "Missouri Growth During '90s Beats Baby Boom," Associated Press, December 27, 2001.
  2. U.S. Census Bureau 2006
  3. Jack Martin. Issue Brief: Estimation of Foreign Born Birthrate. FAIR. 2008.
  4. U.S. Geological Survey 2000.
  5. Jack Martin and Stanley Fogel, "Projecting the U.S. Population to 2050," FAIR, March 2006
  6. "Table DP-1-4, Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000," Census 2000, U.S. Census Bureau.
  7. "Table DP-1-4, Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 1990," 1990 Census, U.S. Census Bureau.
  8. Report Card for America's Infrastructure 2005," American Society of Civil Engineers.
  9. "The 2005 Urban Mobility Report", Texas Transportation Institute.
  10. "U.S. Population 2007 Data Sheet," Population Reference Bureau.
  11. Jeremy Kohler, "Jefferson County's Explosive Growth Produces Challenges, Complications," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 22, 2001.
  12. "State Rankings by Acreage and Rate of Non-federal Land Developed," Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture.
  13. Selected Housing Characteristics: 2005Data Set - 2005 American Community Survey, American Fact Finder, U.S. Census Bureau.
  14. Haya El Nasser, "U.S. Neighborhoods Grow More Crowded," USA Today, July 7, 2002.
  15. Randy Capps, "Hardship Among Children of Immigrants: Findings from the 1999 National Survey of America's Families," Urban Institute, 2001.
  16. Jeffrey Spivak, op. cit.
  17. Bill Draper, "Fixing Missouri's Growth Patterns Comes Down to Leadership," Associated Press, December 9, 2002.
  18. Beck, Roy and Leon Kolankiewicz, "Weighing Sprawl Factors in Large U.S. Cities," NumbersUSA, March 2001.
  19. "Missouri State Factsheet," Migration Information Source, Migration Policy Institute.
  20. "State of the Air 2005: Missouri", American Lung Association.
  21. Report Card for America's Infrastructure 2005," American Society of Civil Engineers.
  22. Table DP-1-4, Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 1990 and 2000, Census 2000, U.S. Census Bureau.
  23. "Overview of Public Elementary and Secondary Schools and Districts: School Year 1999-2000," National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education.
  24. "Public Elementary and Secondary School Student Enrollment, High School Completions, and Staff From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2005-06', National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, June 2007.
  25. Projections of Education Statistics to 2015, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education.
  26. Sterling Levy, "River View Schools Are Gearing Up to Seek Bond Issue Next Year as Enrollment Grows," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 28, 2002.


Other Resources

State Local Reform Organizations

State Representatives Voting Record


Updated December 2011